Mar 2, 2018

Draught Guinness

Draught or draft Guinness is special. There is a precise, elaborate, and time-consuming art-form of pouring the perfect pint of Guinness beer. Bartenders around the world are given instructions for the proper pouring process, including details about the type of glass used, the angle the glass is held at during the different states of pouring, the precise length of time the pint must be left to settle, and the force with which the draught Guinness is poured from the tap.

During the 1950s, Guinness scientist Michael Ash was tasked with solving the 'draft problem'. At the time, dispensing a draft pint of Guinness was very complicated, and the company was losing market share to draft lagers in Britain that could be easily dispensed with CO2. “The stout was too lively to be dispensed with CO2 only,” Brady said. “Ash worked on the problem for four years, working long hours day and night, and became a bit of a recluse apparently. A lot of doubters at the brewery called the project ‘daft Guinness'.”

Then Ash attempted dispensing the beer with plain air. It worked. The secret ingredient, he discovered, was nitrogen. The air we breathe is 78 percent nitrogen. Today, a Guinness draft contains 75 percent nitrogen. Not only did the discovery make dispensing the beer easier, it created a creamy mouthfeel that has been the signature of Irish stouts since.

Nitrogen forms tighter bubbles than carbon dioxide when put under pressure in a solution and has a different appearance and texture. The bubble is a pocket of released gas that becomes trapped inside of a thin membrane of beer. There are many more little bubbles in a nitrogen pour.

Incidentally, Draught Guinness, as it is known today, was first produced in 1964. Bottled Draught Guinness was formulated in 1978 and launched into the Irish market in 1979.

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